Wednesday, August 19, 2020

LEGO DC: SHAZAM! - Magic & Monsters

Billy Batson (Zach Callison) was previously introduced as a supporting character in LEGO DC: Batman – Family Matters. LEGO DC: SHAZAM! - Magic & Monsters introduces us to his super-hero alter-ego complete with origin story, some classic villains, and a lesson for kids about trust.

There are three separate plots in LEGO DC: SHAZAM! - Magic & Monsters. The straight-to-video allows for the origins of the hero formerly known as Captain Marvel to be explored along with his introduction to the Justice League. There's also a plot by Mr. Mind (Greg Ellis) who, with the help of Dr. Sivana (Dee Bradley Baker), transforms the Justice League into kids where they will be more susceptible to his mind control and retrieve the food he needs for his transformation. And last, but not least, is the appearance of Black Adam (Imari Williams), the Wizard's former warrior, who breaks out of the Rock of Eternity and attacks the Wizard and his new champion.

LEGO DC: SHAZAM! - Magic & Monsters is a fun all-ages affair that fits well with the other DC LEGO movies. The movie stays close to the character's classic origin story and tone, explaining the acronym behind his powers, and allowing the LEGO version of the character to be a big kid. Casting Sean Astin as the voice of the Big Red Cheese is inspired and helps sell the character's view of the world. I was also pleased to see the rotating Green Lantern role go to Jessica Cruz (Cristina Milizia) this time around. The food drive is a little bonkers, but the movie makes the Justice League kids work and the choice for Billy to share his powers with them in the final act allows for some fun character designs.

The movie isn't perfect. While the three different storylines intertwine, it does feel like separate episodes of a television series tied together. Also, with all the promotion centered on Black Adam's appearance it's a bit disappointing that the character isn't properly introduced until the film's final 20 minutes. The Monster Society of Evil is also missing some big names in their ranks in favor of including the Dummy (James Arnold Taylor) and Jeepers (Dee Bradley Baker). The Blu-ray version of the movie comes with a SHAZAM LEGO figure, but it's the standard figure released in other sets and has far less detail than the version in the movie (which is actually really cool). Either a more detailed figure or one of currently unavailable Black Adam or any of the SHAZAM-ized heroes (or even on of the kid versions of the heroes) would have made for a better addition. LEGO DC: SHAZAM! - Magic & Monsters is available on DVD, Blu-ray, and several streaming platforms.

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